New Delhi [India], April 15 (ANI): In continuation of giving big relief for farmers, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Wednesday issued guidelines allowing agricultural and related activities including farming operations from April 20 even as the nationwide lockdown has been extended till May 3.
These activities were allowed in the previous lockdown period too after the government came with an addendum for these activities. According to guidelines, “farming operations by farmers and farm workers in the field, agencies engaged in procurement of agriculture products, including minimum support price (MSP) operations, mandis operated by the Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) or as notified by the state/UT government (e.g. satellite mandis) and direct marketing operations by the state/UT government or by industry, directly from farmers/group of farmers, farmers producer organisations (FPOs), co-operatives etc” have been exempted from the lockdown.
The MHA said that state and Union Territories may promote decentralised marketing and procurement at the village level. Shops of agricultural machinery, its spare parts (including its supply chain) and repairs will also remain open from April 20.
Custom Hiring Centres (CHC) related to farm machinery and manufacturing, distribution and retail of fertilizers, pesticides and seeds have also been exempted.
The inter and intra-state movement of harvesting and sowing related machines like combined harvester and other agriculture/ horticulture implements has been allowed.
The MHA has allowed operations of the fishing (marine and inland)/aquaculture industry including feeding and maintenance, harvesting, processing, packaging, cold chain, sale and marketing, hatcheries, feed plants, commercial aquaria and movement of fish/shrimp and fish products, fish seed/feed and workers for all these activities.
In plantation, the Centre has allowed operations of tea, coffee and rubber plantations besides processing, packaging, sale and marketing of tea, coffee, rubber and cashew “with a maximum of 50 per cent workers”.
The MHA said that collection, processing, distribution and sale of milk and milk products by milk processing plants, including transport and supply chain will be functional. Operation of animal husbandry farms including poultry farms and hatcheries and livestock farming activity, animal feed manufacturing and feed plants, including supply of raw material, such as maize and soya and operation of animal shelter homes including gaushalas (cow shelters) have also been permitted. The MHA guidelines came a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the extension of lockdown till May 3.